Sometimes you need to know what you’re doing wrong before focusing on what to do right.
I recently published a podcast episode about the three types of content you want to focus on as an online service business, and I alluded to one of the mistakes in that episode. Here we’ll dive further into the topic but first, a short story:
Commuting in NYC is basically warfare on a good day, but if you’re carting through Manhattan with a heavy backpack, it’s worse.
In the hustle and bustle, that loaded backpack made a minor error into a huge injury. As I descended the stairs to catch my train, everyone else on that 10 pm train rushed the stairs, too. And whether they intended it or not, their rush into my heavy backpack pushed me down the stairs, and I seriously sprained my ankle.
That backpack was optional, though. I didn’t have to be carrying it. I’d gone from a photoshoot to a friend’s house and didn’t want to drop my backpack off in between. In my haste, I created this problem.
And that’s what it’s like for you online when you’re committing these content mistakes. You’re making an already complicated situation dangerous. You’re setting yourself up for unnecessary risks. And frankly–you’re making life a lot harder for yourself than it has to be.
You’re not opinionated enough
I’m at huge risk of throwing down a whole bunch of cliches here. Anyway, here we go. I’ll let you try and count the cliches.
You’re afraid to make waves. You’re bland.
You’re afraid to–gasp!–make mistakes.
You’re boring if you’re not willing to put your opinion out there.
A watered-down message is boring. You’re boring if you’re not willing to put your opinion out there. Boring people don’t keep clients’ attention. A boring online presence, the same–they’ll lose loyal followers quickly.
Almost a year ago I released “How to Craft an Authority Opinion” #063 and the information still stands: you absolutely must do this to create enough leadership in your niche that people will be willing to spend some of their time on your content.
There is zero point in not standing out.
It’s one of the reasons I can’t stand the girlboss/bossmom culture. They all kind of sound the same, have you noticed? I challenge you, right now, to send me a single brand message that stands out.
Okay, I actually just looked up #girlboss on Instagram. On the first screen, I see three text-based posts. Their messages are, in order, “Now close your eyes, and please understand that you are still young and the universe is endless and somehow everything will be okay.” Next, “Believe it or not, there is not a single person you need in this life more than yourself. Put yourself first.” And third, “Too busy working on me to ever hate on you.”
Whew, let’s take a breath.
Don’t cheat, but can you repeat any part of those three posts to me other than the generic feeling of “rah-rah, yay you?” I bet you can’t.
They’re watered down messages.
They might be important messages, but because they’re so generic, they’re forgettable.
If you want to build real authority, you need to do the work of making your message specific, yes, but you also need to do this: you need to back it up. You need to craft that opinion and put it out there with some meat.
THIS is how you build authentic authority. This is tangible, a legit way to state to the great, wide interwebs and say, “Here I am.”
It really all comes down to confidence.
The impact you make is a direct result of your willingness to be seen.
When you are fully confident in the services you offer, you will have opinions naturally. And when you know your stuff, you really can’t help but share it.
You’re posting filler content
Because you’re not showing up confidently, you’re posting filler content. Like, I can’t say this more clearly than I am here right now but if this is you? Just stop posting.
If I want to know how to incorporate more turmeric in my diet, I’ll google that shit. No, really, that’s what I’ll do. There is really no efficient way for me to search your LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook posts, so you posting helpful facts about turmeric is just fluff.
Now don’t get mad at me, I’m trying to help you.
I’m giving you an option for thinking differently about the content you’re investing time in creating. You’re investing a non-renewable resource in fluff that nobody will be able to find when they’re finally in the market for that knowledge. So basically, you’re wasting your most valuable resource, time, create filler posts.
How-to content like this has its place. For example, in a long-format blog post, where you have the space and time and really dig into why turmeric matters to your long-term health. And where SEO can make it into a piece of content your audience CAN find in the future. And where you can create a graphic that points to that blog post from Pinterest, another search engine.
If all your content is doing is stating a known fact, it’s filler content.
For the record, I do think turmeric is pretty awesome and I have learned a lot about it from my health-minded clients, but finding that out didn’t prompt me to hire them. Your public service posts aren’t doing your business any favors!
At the bare minimum, your content needs to give your own take on the subject and… here we’re circling back again… give your opinion on the matter!
Another culprit in this mistake? Quotes.
Oh, the power of regurgitating someone else’s words, right? I know that’s what you’re thinking, and I know you’re wondering where I’m going with this.
It’s actually as simple as what I just said about the how-to posts: at the bare minimum you need to give your take on the subject.
Way back at the beginning of my podcast I interviewed Linda Bard, a soul branding expert. She said, “You are full of wisdom, girl. Brand your own pictures with your own words.” I couldn’t say it better than that myself!
And if you’re about to point the finger at me and say, “Britney, you just said not to regurgitate others’ quotes than you missed the finer distinction here. I said not to just regurgitate, but to inform.
Linda’s words perfectly illustrate my point that just sharing someone else’s quote without giving your perspective on it is a waste. Tell me WHY the quote matters to you, WHY the words spoke to you.
Make it YOUR OWN.
You’re using generic prompts
And that brings us to our third mistake: using generic prompts.
The reason I created The Show-Up System in the first place is that I was frustrated by the many “visibility plans” built on generic prompts.
I get the allure of them: you’re in a rush, you haven’t posted on LinkedIn yet today, you don’t know what to say and so you pull open that PDF you bought for $17 last month and jab your finger at the screen in the modern digital version of eenie-meenie-mynie-moe and you land on…
“Tell the audience about a time when you overcame a mindset block.”
There are so many things wrong with this stab-in-the-dark strategy.
- Does your brand even talk about mindset? Not all can or should!
- If you’re looking for a quick content plug, this is NOT it. If you’re going to try and throw something online real quick, please don’t pick a quasi-philosophical prompt. You won’t do it justice (well, at least you won’t if you don’t have a well-thought-out brand foundation like the kind my clients receive in my done-for-you programs). Nudge, Nudge, there.
- If you do this kind of prompt in a slipshod way, you WILL kill your KLT factor.
You are above this.
If you are investing your time in reading this article, I know you’re better than a list of generic prompts.
Create your own prompts.
Define your three or four content buckets, fill them up with topics, and then elaborate upon those topics using the BE SEEN content creation methods. Talk about the enemies of each topic, or what holds people back. Talk about the goals of each topic, the stories that go along with each topic.
I guarantee you that when you use the BE SEEN content creation method, you can turn any of your own, unique prompts into a full month of client-attracting content for your business. IF you set up your content system in a strategic way like I teach.
Posting for the Cool Kids
This last mistake is kind of related to being afraid of posting your opinions, but slightly different. Actually, it’s closely related to all three of the mistakes we’ve gone over.
I’ve just given you a whole lot of opinion (it’s an authority opinion and I backed it up, so it’s okay! Ha!). But you should know one important thing: my opinion of your content doesn’t matter.
The only person’s opinion you should give credence to is your best client’s.
To be very clear: I have had clients in the past shy away from creating a particular piece of content because it might upset:
- Their mother
- Their spouse
- Their first clients, who were no longer a good fit for their business, but they didn’t want to alienate them anyway
- Their favorite biz guru
- Can I repeat: their mother?
Oh my goodness, people. Did you hear that? I have had a client refuse to post a certain message because they were afraid their mother would see it.
If you’re not willing to own your message, why should you expect your clients to pay you for anything?
And unless your mother is still footing your bills, your mother’s opinion cannot weigh into your business decisions.
Same for your spouse, even if that creates a few spirited discussions in your house after the kids go to sleep. Unless they’re financing your business… Actually, you know what? Even if they are financing your business, your messaging, your content–it’s still designed to attract CLIENTS. Not another spouse. I’ll stand by it, even if your spouse is financing your business, your content is not designed to appease them. Its purpose is to attract paying clients.
So I’ll reiterate: unless the person in question is a paying customer of yours, their opinion has nothing to do with your content strategy.
If you want to create a visibility plan that attracts clients into your unique business, you need to be authentic to the unique thread that ties YOU to your best client.
Did you guys know that big corporations are hiring consultants to come in and train their employees on how to be more authentic? I find that to be so crazy. All you have to do is follow what I’ve outlined right here.
Share your opinions and back them up. Stop posting filler fluff. Create your own prompts and build your know, like and trust factor with a visibility plan no one can copy, since it’s all you. And finally, stop posting for the cool kids. Post for your clients. Use your content as a filter that calls in your best client and gently repels everyone else.
You can be fake authentic or you can have authentic authority and avoid these mistakes. It’s time to be ruthless in our pursuit of authentic authority.